Explore - from a scientific and experiential perspective - how anatomy, fascia and gravity interact and how this understanding can radically change the way you move, practice and teach.
Let go of unhelpful movement patterns and generate new ones that can underpin any movement practice, and help you to avoid (or recover from) injury and move with grace and ease for the rest of your life.
Learn how superficial fascia, nerve endings and the glide of interfaces between tissue surfaces all respond to touch. Understand how to work with this to create a shift in your nervous system and move from a more relaxed state.
You will learn how to:
regain or maintain mobility and fluidity of movement
prevent or recover from injury
support the longevity of easeful movement
use fascia to activate the parasympathetic nervous system
This is a fascia-focused course that will take you on a journey under the skin. Drawing on Gary’s 30+ years of experience, which are underpinned by the latest findings on fascia and anatomy and informed by the teachings of Vanda Scaravelli, this course will radically change the way you practice and teach yoga and other movement disciplines.
It is, simply put, a manual for the human body. It examines the effect of gravity on movement and you’ll learn how to use your relationship with gravity to move with lightness, fluidity and grace. It examines the textural and architectural differences in fascia and how they affect the way we move and respond to our environment. It highlights the importance of ‘economy of movement’ in preventing and recovering from injury and supporting the longevity of easeful movement.
Along the way, we’ll take a detailed look at different regional anatomical structures in the body – including the foot, leg, spine, arms, back and neck – and do some simple movement practices to put what we’ve learnt into practice. You’ll come away with a felt sense of how to integrate your new-found knowledge of the fascial network, anatomy, gravity, breath, and the spiralling pathways of the tissues into any movement practice so that eventually practicing and moving in a way that goes with the body becomes second nature.
Who is this for:
Welcome! In this short introduction, Gary gives an overview of his movement background. He explains how he developed a passion for anatomy, fascia, and gravity and how they interact – and how this understanding can radically change the way we move, practice and teach.
Gravity is the first physical stress our system feels and has to negotiate from the moment we are born to the day we die. It determines our balance, most of our movements and even influences the way we are shaped. But how do we arrange ourselves skilfully within the field of gravity?
By starting to get a feel for our ‘balance of masses,’ along with the mechanisms that respond to gravity, it’s possible to find an energy-efficient way to move and negotiate our environment on a moment to moment basis. This can have effective outcomes for the structural and physiological health of our system. Gary shares how, through practice, we can learn to constantly refine the ‘feel’ of ourselves in motion and balance so that this process eventually becomes automatic.
“The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art” – Leonardo Da Vinci
The human foot has unique qualities. It has evolved to respond to its environment and performs a huge range of functions. It is durable, adaptable, sensory and strong. It can bear weight, is an intricate spring and is able to feel its environment below whilst simultaneously giving ongoing feedback to the moving body above.
In this class we explore how these qualities have the potential to enable the structures above the feet (e.g. knees, thigh muscles, hip joints, hip flexors, and lower spine) to move with greater ease, efficiency and sensitivity.
The foot has an interesting and intricate arrangement of bones and joints in that all the joint surfaces and shapes are gently curved and allow a degree of adaptability. There are also a large amount of connective tissue structures, muscle and nerve endings throughout the foot.
Many of the myofascial structures of the foot reach up into the lower leg and have connections to each other and the surrounding tissues – this helps to promote incredible strength and spring. In this practice, we’ll explore these potentials, learn to feel for adaptive strength in the foot and discover how this helps to liberate movement in the thighs and hips.
The body's ability to adapt is one of its most remarkable features for survival and evolutionary development. In this session we’ll be looking at economy of movement - how we can use our physical energy efficiently so that we don’t overuse our musculature and joint structures.
We have tissues that are able to withstand forces, accept them, then return them as usable energy in efficient ways to create effective, strong, buoyant movements. In this session we’ll learn how to create the optimal conditions in which to gather, generate and release these forces throughout the body for the most appropriate, graceful and efficient movements, so that all actions become a whole-body event. This is a process that can serve us well throughout our lifetime, potentially helping to allow ease and lightness in our movement and prevent injury and undue stress in our system.
The teachings of Vanda Scaravelli, which bring together her learnings from BKS Iyengar, TKV Desikacher, Krishnamurti, and Tai Chi can have a profound effect on our understanding of the body. They invite an integrated quality of movement that allows for economy, ease and grace. This sense and appearance of lightness requires letting go of some of the habits in movement that send us down unhelpful pathways. Instead we can learn how to generate new habitual movement patterns that may require deep attention but are worth learning if we want to avoid injury and continue to move with ease for the rest of our lives.
Learning about the neurology of our fascial network can help us and our students understand how to create a shift in our nervous systems. In this session you’ll learn about the textures of tissues and the communication from the skin. We’ll look at how the superficial fascia, its nerve endings, and the glide of interfaces between the tissue surfaces all respond to touch. We’ll consider how our tissues respond to load and stress, and we’ll learn the important roles that our fascial network and deep rest play in creating a shift in our nervous system so that we can move to - and from - a more relaxed (parasympathetic) state.
There are an enormous number of connections in the body that allow our muscular structures to interface and glide with each other. All the muscular and fascial structures of the leg twist and wind their way upwards from the foot to the pelvis and spine. In this session we’ll explore some of these pathways so that we can learn how to create an interesting and efficient interaction between the foot and the pelvis. This can have profound effects on the body's ability to feel buoyancy and lightness in movement.
In this class, we’ll take a close look at the structure and movements of the spine. We’ll explore some of the individual vertebral structures (including the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine), understand how curves developed as a response to gravity, and look at how the discs and bones interact with one another. We’ll also consider how the density of our connective tissue affects how the spine moves.
We’ll then explore what happens to these different structures when we breathe. We’ll do a short practice to experience the ongoing dance between the breath and the spine and learn how we can create the ideal conditions for freedom in our spine.
The arms have direct connections to the spine, pelvis and head. This affects the balance of the neck and head and our ability to either limit our range of movement for the breath, or liberate it.
Understanding the layout and pattern of the myofascial structures that make up the arm, we learn to become more efficient in how we can generate greater ease of motion for the arm, spine, shoulder and neck. We’ll also explore the relationship these structures have to the pelvis
Vanda Scaravelli’s assertion that we have to learn to “listen to our body, going with it, not against it” rings true when we consider the shapes of all of our structures and our body as a whole. For example, if we examine various bone shapes like the humerus, radius and ulna, the joint capsules, and how they are connected with the scapula, we can see how these structures gently twist, turn and rotate. This pattern is repeated to some degree - from head to foot - throughout all of our bony structures. In the same way, the musculature of our myofascial body rotates and winds its way around the underlying bony form.
There are many maps that show these numerous spiralling pathways of our tissues. In this session, however, we explore what it’s like to get a felt sense of how it is to move with the body using specific routes of motion and our constant companion and teacher - gravity.
The bandhas are not independent entities when it comes to our yoga practice – they are, in fact, integral to our structure and subtly involved in every movement we make. So, rather than being an instructional class on ‘how to engage’ the bandhas from an energetic perspective, this session is a structural and fascial exploration into how the bandhas enhance the space and elongation of our body and provide us with internal support.
We’ll experience how this comes into play in Plank pose, which also brings in many of the other elements we’ve considered during this course: how do we maintain length in the spine, can we still breathe, what is our relation to gravity, and can we move away from habitual movement patterns and make this a ‘whole body event’?
Gary Carter has over 30 years of experience in anatomical study and bodywork practices. With a background in athletics, competition cycling, bodybuilding, martial arts, yoga and manual therapies, Gary trains and encourages kinesthetic awareness, ease of movement, and efficient body use in many movement disciplines to bring a renewed sense of health and vitality into everyday life. He founded the Natural Bodies Centre in 1991 through which he teaches Myofascial Movement Trainings, Anatomy Movement courses and Dissection Labs for manual therapists and movement professionals.
Using Traditional Chinese Medicine and Meridian Theory as a foundation, this 30-hour course will teach you how Yin Yoga poses can stimulate meridians and balance Chi flow, and support and enhance overall wellbeing.
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